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There may not be an organization that understands pitching right now better than the Marlins, whose gallery of unlikely successes includes Pablo Lopez, Trevor Rogers and even Zac Gallen (who landed them Jazz Chisholm), with several more yet to break through.

But if Zach Thompson continues down this path, he may well be their magnum opus. The 27-year-old had spent his entire career in the minors, most recently as a reliever, and it hadn't gone well. In 2019, he had a 5.23 ERA. In eight appearances for Triple-A Jacksonville this year, he had a 6.60 ERA. His breakout, if legitimate, would be among the unlikeliest I've ever seen.

PIT Pittsburgh • #39 • Age: 28
Saturday vs. Nationals
INN
6
H
4
ER
1
BB
2
K
11

Which makes it a big "if," of course. One great outing against the Nationals does not a career make. But it's not just one outing, is it? His previous one at the Cubs, in which he allowed no hits with seven strikeouts in four innings, also raised eyebrows.

And then there's the aesthetic of it. Just look at how uncomfortable the Nationals are on these swings:

In all, Thompson had 16 swinging strikes, including five on a high-spin fastball and six on a curveball. His most-thrown pitch was actually a cutter, though, coming in at an intermediate velocity that seemed to maximize the impact of the other two pitches. The Nationals clearly couldn't tell what was coming, and it seems like the Cubs didn't either.

"I think he did a decent job of going from cutter to curveball," Nationals first baseman Josh Bell said. "Pretty similar locations on where he started those pitches, and then the curveball would just drop out of the zone. I feel like he wasn't afraid to use his second and third pitch in any count, which makes guys deceptive."

Maybe the league catches up to Thompson. The odds favor it, in fact. But isn't there a chance he's one of those pitchers who fits better as a starter because it allows him to make full use of his arsenal? The Marlins might understand pitching better than any other organization right now, remember, and it's their minor-league pitching coordinator, Scott Aldred, who first identified Thompson as a candidate for the rotation.

"We slowly lengthened out Thompson to provide innings, with an eventual move to the rotation in mind," director of pro scouting Hadi Raad said about the right-hander's transition. "Scott saw that he had the pure stuff and strike-throwing capability to start."

I'm intrigued enough to take a flier on Thompson in the 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues where he's still available, but here's who else you might be able to grab off the waiver wire ...

  • We talk Tarik Skubal, whether to add Zach Thompson or Kyle Muller, plus Keston Hiura and Phillies, Tigers and Reds bullpens on the Fantasy Baseball Today in 5 podcast. You can follow us to get the latest episodes on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
Possible waiver wire pickups
DET Detroit • #29 • Age: 25
ROSTERED
75%
Sunday vs. Astros
INN
7
H
1
ER
1
BB
3
K
9
This is it: the start that will win over the last remaining holdouts. Not only did Tarik Skubal go seven innings for the first time, not only did he hold a juggernaut Astros lineup to one hit, not only did he record 21 swinging strikes, but he did it with the most diverse arsenal he's shown so far. Here's the breakdown of the swinging strikes: six on the four-seamer, six on the slider, four on the two-seamer, three on the changeup and two on the curveball. Not bad for a guy who didn't have much more than a fastball last year.
TOR Toronto • #68 • Age: 29
ROSTERED
69%
2021 season
SV
6
ERA
1.29
WHIP
1.05
INN
28.2
BB
13
K
37
Is a three-save week enough to convince you Jordan Romano is the guy in Toronto? The Blue Jays went most of June without having a save chance, and then when they finally got one last week, Romano needed the day off. This past week confirms, though, that the role is indeed his for the taking, and an opportunity was all he ever needed. If the season-long stats aren't impressive enough, note that he has a 0.72 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 11.9 K/9 over his past 24 appearances.
HOU Houston • #17 • Age: 32
ROSTERED
67%
Sunday at Tigers
INN
5
H
2
ER
0
BB
1
K
3
Sunday's outing wasn't as dominant as his previous one, in which he struck out nine over five no-hit innings, but it still supports the idea that Jake Odorizzi is back on track after an early bout with a strained forearm. His fastball has been particularly effective, and it was on the strength of that pitch that he put up career-best numbers in 2019. He won't often be asked to go more than five or six innings, but with the Astros lineup backing him, he should win his share regardless.
TB Tampa Bay • #18 • Age: 25
ROSTERED
66%
Saturday vs. Angels
INN
6
H
4
ER
3
BB
2
K
7
That's two six-inning outings in a row and three straight with 85-plus pitches for Shane McClanahan, who the Rays have stretched out methodically and are now asking to anchor a starting rotation that just lost Tyler Glasnow. OK, so that's setting the bar too high, but McClanahan's 16.8 percent swinging-strike rate would rank behind only Glasnow and Jacob deGrom among qualifiers. His best may be yet to come.
MIL Milwaukee • #18 • Age: 25
ROSTERED
37%
2021 season
AVG
.149
HR
3
OPS
.519
AB
121
BB
9
K
53
Keston Hiura is back from his second stint in the minors this year and homered twice over the weekend, with one coming on one of those high fastballs that have given him so much trouble. His second stint at Triple-A Nashville saw him strike out just 25.5 percent of the time, which he said was the result of better making swing decisions. Between the two stints there, he hit .403 with a 1.228 OPS, which should serve as a reminder of how much upside he has.
LAA L.A. Angels • #43 • Age: 25
ROSTERED
37%
Sunday at Rays
INN
5
H
4
ER
3
BB
2
K
6
Patrick Sandoval didn't go the six innings required for a quality start Sunday and didn't match the nine strikeouts from his previous start. But it was another decent outing for the 24-year-old left-hander, bringing his ERA to 3.89 and WHIP to 1.25. Most impressive was his 15 swinging strikes, including nine on the slider. His changeup has already proven to be an elite pitch, so if he develops more confidence in his breaking ball, he could really take off.
PHI Philadelphia • #46 • Age: 27
ROSTERED
31%
2021 season
SV
2
ERA
2.79
WHIP
1.45
INN
29
BB
24
K
40
Manager Joe Girardi declared Jose Alvarado his closer Thursday in place of a struggling Hector Neris, but has he already backed off? Alvarado blew his first opportunity in his new role in Game 1 of a doubleheader Friday, leading to Neris securing a save in Game 2. But then Neris blew a save, his fourth of the month, the very next day. Instead of going back to Alvarado on Sunday, Girardi brought in the left-hander for the eighth inning, with Archie Bradley pitching the ninth for a save. Bradley's numbers say he isn't the answer. I'm still rolling the dice on Alvarez, but it's a tepid endorsement.
ATL Atlanta • #66 • Age: 24
ROSTERED
8%
Sunday at Reds
ERA
5
H
1
ER
0
BB
2
K
9
If you miss out on Thompson in those leagues where Skubal, Odorizzi and McClanahan are already rostered, Kyle Muller isn't a bad fallback. The rookie has a high-spin fastball and a surprisingly developed arsenal. Of his 16 swinging strikes Sunday, six came on the slider, five on the curveball and four on the fastball. It's been an encouraging first two starts for a pitcher who also showed good bat-missing ability in the minors, but his past control issues could rear their ugly head again.